a group of 8 people up on the stage with 5 being presented with the award
Greater Manchester Champions Awards 2023 National Football Museum

Health and care heroes were celebrated as the winners of the Greater Manchester Health and Care Champion Awards 2023 were announced.

Over 500 people were nominated for 13 categories including Community Champion, Volunteer Champion and People’s Champion. Finalists attended a ceremony held on 13th July at the National Football Museum, hosted by Manchester-born, TV presenter Michelle Ackerley, to celebrate the winners.

There were plenty of inspirational stories shared on the night, really highlighting the strength, determination and dedication of all those who work within the health and care workforce – both employed and unwaged.

Professor Stephen Playfor, a Consultant Paediatric Intensivist at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital since February 2002 won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Professor Playfor was nominated for his dedication to delivering and developing high quality services for critically ill children and his commitment to his patients and colleagues. He has dedicated a huge amount of time to research into critical care, which has ultimately led to the saving of lives of children across the country. Professor Playfor played a critical role in responding to the COVID pandemic. He coordinated converting Paediatric Critical Care Unit so the ward could also care for critically ill adults, meaning more patients could be treated.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham presented four individuals with his Mayor’s Special Recognition Award, which celebrates a contribution to health and care that is truly unique. Barbara Lambert, Volunteer Chair of League of Friends, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Jill Dodge, Administrator, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, Mary Armstrong, Director, Ferrol Lodge Care Home, Sale and Brenda Buckley, Receptionist, Lockside Medical Centre, Stalybridge, collectively have over 230 years of experience between them of working in health and care and serving the communities of Greater Manchester. They were recognised on the night for dedicating not only their working lives, but their later lives to helping care for others.

The People’s Champion Award was chosen by the public and recognises an individual or team for their commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of others. Winner on the night was Donna Bannister, a Support Worker at Making Space, who provide adult health and social care services. Donna puts the wellbeing of others at the heart of everything she does and set up initiatives which support vulnerable tenants in leading a healthy lifestyle. These include a walking group, a healthy eating group and a men’s wellbeing group.

During the ceremony a moment was taken to celebrate the contributions of Hannah Tyldesley and Karen Downs, who both unfortunately passed away in 2022. Hannah was a Resourcing Advisor at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, who colleagues described as someone who always went the extra mile. Karen worked at Wigan, Wrighton and Leigh Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and was the driving force for setting up the pioneering virtual hub and ward which allowed for patients to be treated virtually from home. Awards for Outstanding Contribution were presented in their memory and accepted by Hannah and Karen’s family.

The event was made possible with the support of sponsors. Sponsors included:

  • NHS Professionals
  • Brentwood SciTech
  • Health Innovation Manchester
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • The University of Manchester
  • University of Salford
  • Carnall Farrar
  • Hempsons
  • Venn Group
  • Square Gardens
  • Hill Dickinson
  • PWC
  • University of Bolton

Raffle prizes were also kindly donated by:

  • iFly
  • Hallé
  • National Football Museum
  • Quayside Media City UK
  • Virgin Active
  • Salford City Football Club

Sir Richard Leese, Chair of NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board, said: “It is an honour to hear of the fantastic work that happens across our health and care system every day. It’s so important that we take the time to recognise the commitment and dedication of our colleagues.

“As many of us have been celebrating 75 years of the NHS this month, it seems particularly poignant to express our pride and appreciation for the skill and compassion of our employed and unwaged workforce who care for our patients and their families often in challenging circumstances.

“A huge congratulations to all of our winners – well deserved.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “It is fantastic to have the opportunity to celebrate our champions in health and care here in Greater Manchester.

“I was delighted to present Barbara, Jill, Mary and Brenda with my Mayor’s Special Recognition Award, recognising their many years of contribution to health and social care. These people are the backbone of our health and care service.  They have truly dedicated not only their working lives, but their later lives to helping others.

“Well done to all our winners and indeed, all of those nominated. Thank you all for going the extra mile and always putting those you care for first.”

See the award categories, winners and shortlists

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